MISSOULA — Mild weather brought Missoulians together to celebrate their prized possessions: their cars.
Saturday morning a group of car owners and onlookers gathered over a shared passion.
In a parking lot on Reserve Street next to Starbucks, the first Cars & Coffee event of the year hosted a variety of shiny and meticulously cared for vehicles. Folks mingled and showed off their rides.
Exzel Tadeo organized the event with his community group Nvicta Squad.
“The goal with Cars & Coffee is just to get a group of people that love cars and enthusiasts that want to hang out," Tadeo said.
"It just gives something for people to do on the weekends, especially after working all week, and I think that's what people look forward to,” he added.
Tadeo has been an auto enthusiast since he can remember and now drives a 2014 Corvette.
“Probably since I was four my dad got me a Hot Wheels car and that started the collection for me and I've still collected some Hot Wheels car since then. So that's kind of what got me into cars,” Tadeo explained.
Car devotees in Missoula have also been known to go on cruises—driving collectively around town to show off their rides.
In the past year, cruises even visited nursing homes to take residents back in time.
“Cruising has been around since the 50s and 60s you know, most of us grew up in the backseat of the car and our parents were doing this, and that’s exactly how I got into it,” said Todd Rust, organizer for Missoula Cruisers.
Rust says gatherings and drives have a positive community impact.
“A lot of people have got the same interest and we just get together so we can share that with everybody else. And of course, you know, there’s other people that don’t have the cars but they like to come and look and see. So it’s a good event to bring everybody out,” Rust said.
The organizers said they plan to expand community outreach and host more events down the road.
The group may have to look for a new location for the get-together in the future due to WinCo parking lot rules.